NASCAR at Dover 2014: Start Time, Live Stream, TV Schedule and More

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2014

DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 29:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, leads Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Filtrete Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 29, 2013 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup will feature four fewer drivers after the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. Under the new format, championship contenders will get eliminated after every three races until the final four are left standing for the season finale.

As of now, the group currently outside the cutline includes Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola. Although those drivers are going to face the most pressure this weekend, the battle remains close, which will keep a lot of teams on edge until the checkered flag waves.

NASCAR calls this portion of the competition the Challenger Round, but the key word Sunday will be survival. Everybody is desperate to keep his Chase hopes alive. So let's check out all of the key race information along with some drivers to watch and make a prediction.

Race Info

Where: Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware

When: Sunday, Sept. 28, at 2 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN

Live Steam: WatchESPN

Radio: Motor Racing Network

Qualifying Order

AAA 400 Starting Lineup
Pos.Car No.DriverSpeed
14Kevin Harvick 162.933
218Kyle Busch 162.404
311Denny Hamlin 162.250
42Brad Keselowski 162.140
51Jamie McMurray 161.936
624Jeff Gordon 161.573
742Kyle Larson 161.457
848Jimmie Johnson 161.298
915Clint Bowyer 160.643
103Austin Dillon 160.506
1155Brian Vickers 160.492
125Kasey Kahne 160.192
1310Danica Patrick 161.196
1420Matt Kenseth 161.132
1514Tony Stewart 161.016
1622Joey Logano 160.879
179Marcos Ambrose 160.808
1899Carl Edwards 160.707
1927Paul Menard 160.635
2031Ryan Newman 160.621
2143Aric Almirola 160.585
2241Kurt Busch 160.528
2351Justin Allgaier 160.449
2417Ricky Stenhouse Jr.160.421
2588Dale Earnhardt Jr.160.399
2678Martin Truex Jr.160.142
2716Greg Biffle 159.929
2847AJ Allmendinger 159.865
2926Cole Whitt 159.716
3013Casey Mears 159.200
3138David Gilliland 159.123
3298Josh Wise 158.249
3336Reed Sorenson 158.172
3423Alex Bowman 158.089
357Michael Annett 157.971
3640Landon Cassill 157.137
3734David Ragan 157.054
3833David Stremme 156.359
3932J.J. Yeley 156.169
4037Mike Bliss 156.040
4166Mike Wallace 156.020
4283Travis Kvapil 153.479
4344Timmy Hill 152.355
NASCAR.com

Drivers to Watch

Kevin Harvick

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 19:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate a Driver Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Chris Tr
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

With Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon—that's a lot of star power—all in contention for the championship, Kevin Harvick has flown below the radar. The outstanding qualifying season he's having makes him a serious threat, though.

Being able to start near the front on a consistent basis is key, especially under the new format. It keeps a driver out of danger in terms of the big wrecks that can ruin a Chase. Jeff Gluck of USA Today points out an interesting fact about his pole binge in 2014:

Now the question is whether Harvick can translate that into a victory at Dover. It's not a track where he's enjoyed a ton of success in the past. He doesn't have a win in 27 career starts at the track, with an average finish outside the top 15. This is a golden opportunity to reverse those trends.

Jimmie Johnson

SPARTA, KY - JUNE 27:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on June 27, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

As all racing fans know, this is usually the point in the season where Johnson normally starts to elevate his game. If he's going to win the championship, like he's done six times before, it's time for him to begin illustrating his dominance.

The new format, which features point resets at each stage, lessens the overall impact of the earlier Chase races as long as a driver advances. That said, it's still important to build some momentum. Bob Pockrass of Sporting News provided remarks from Johnson, who's happy he has margin for error.

"I can guarantee you when we get to the end of the race, if there is a call on two (new tires) versus four or fuel strategy, these guys from 12th on back are going to be very aggressive in that respect," he said. "I'm glad we're not looking for a Hail Mary to transfer to the next round."

In contrast to Harvick, Johnson excels at Dover. He's won there nine times in 25 starts while also scoring 18 top-10 finishes. So how well the 48 team runs Sunday should give a clear indication about its chances the rest of the way.

Denny Hamlin

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 16:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, on track during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Jared C. T
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Hamlin is one of the drivers right on the borderline between being right back in the championship mix and getting eliminated. Qualifying third certainly helps and should give the team a little more flexibility to avoid taking too much risk, at least early on.

The strong starting position also provides a boost because Hamlin hasn't had much success at Dover. He has no victories in 17 attempts, with an average finish barely inside the top 20. That type of result this time around would put him in significant danger.

After five straight seasons in which he ended ninth or better in points, Hamlin finished 23rd last year, in part due to injury, and is now in danger of missing the first cut. He needs to rediscover a bit of the previous magic before it's too late.

Prediction

All of the elimination races will be extremely difficult to predict, because the fringe teams are likely going to use some unusual tactics. Some of the other drivers will follow and others won't, which is going to make for plenty of drama Sunday.

Ultimately, amid the bedlam, look for Johnson to use his experience and success at the track to find a way to win in the end. It will be a confidence-building victory for a team that's remained in the hunt despite not finding top form quite yet.

Pick: Jimmie Johnson

Related

    Winners and Losers of First Four Games

    Featured logo
    Featured

    Winners and Losers of First Four Games

    Sean Highkin
    via Bleacher Report

    Make Your Picks Before the Madness Begins ⏰

    1st game tips off at 12:15PM ET

    Featured logo
    Featured

    Make Your Picks Before the Madness Begins ⏰

    1st game tips off at 12:15PM ET

    NCAA® March Madness® Bracket Challenge
    via NCAA® March Madness® Bracket Challenge

    Ponds Was Ideal Test for ASU

    Arizona State will face No. 6 Buffalo on Friday

    Featured logo
    Featured

    Ponds Was Ideal Test for ASU

    Arizona State will face No. 6 Buffalo on Friday

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    NDSU Can Threaten by Controlling the Pace

    North Dakota State to face Duke in round of 64

    Featured logo
    Featured

    NDSU Can Threaten by Controlling the Pace

    North Dakota State to face Duke in round of 64

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report